Call to Prayer: Listening in the Hard Times
Posted on May 4, 2020 by VMMissions Staff
Grace and her husband Yugo serve with Servants to Asia’s Poor in a slum in Southeast Asia. What she shares provides a glimpse into a life of listening to the promise of good news in the midst of great challenges.
My six-year-old son is strapped to my back, using the Ergo baby carrier that he used years ago in infancy. I hold an umbrella in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Next to me, my husband carries two backpacks and our four-year-old son, with a rain jacket covering them all. It is five in the morning, still dark and pouring down rain, and we are wading through flood water.
It has been raining on and off for over a week. With each big rain we wake up at night, to check on whether or not our street is flooding. And this morning at 2 AM, our fears become reality: our neighborhood is flooding. Again.
The Lord called me to the slums nine years ago. I knew serving in slums would not be easy. In my first year, the slum community I faced a devastating fire that destroyed 200 homes, and then evictions and demolitions.
But in the eight years since we moved to this new slum community, we have had relative stability. I am confident that the Lord has called us to serve this community for a reason, and that we still have so much to learn from God here.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)
But these last two months have been a blur. At the beginning of January, we returned from six months of comfortable furlough in the USA. A week before arriving home to our slum, our city flooded. Our neighborhood was flooded—in some places chest deep, in our house and school just knee deep. Our homecoming was overwhelming—filled with culture shock, mourning lost possessions, and setting up our house again.
Less than a month after our homecoming, we all got typhoid. Typhoid is an awful food or waterborne illness that can be summed up in a few words: Fevers. Bloodwork. Hospitals. Exhaustion.
Now, just short two weeks after recovering from typhoid, here we are, trudging through flood water to try to get to higher ground. I cannot see where I place my feet. Our roads are not paved anyway, just an uneven accumulation of mud and rubble. With each step through the dark, brown water, I wonder if I will twist my ankle in a pothole and envision myself falling into the water along with my son.
But that does not happen. After a half mile walk, we make it out of the slum and onto higher ground.
I remember the prophet Habakkuk crying out to the Lord in 3:17-19. Perhaps I can make the prophet’s song my own: “Though the rains do not cease to fall, though the flood waters continue to rise, though sickness and typhoid may ravage our bodies, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”
Being sure-footed does not mean we can see each step of the journey ahead of us. In fact, it seems to me that following Jesus often means the opposite; we cannot see where we are going. Sometimes, we are wading through filthy flood water and cannot see where to put our feet. But even then, we know who we are following. And that He will lead us to high places.
Do I dare to continue to believe that this is where Christ wants our family? Yes.
Will you join in singing Habakkuk’s song, too, even when life-as-you-know-it seems shaken? Can you trust that the Lord will make you sure-footed even through the floods of life?
Grace serves with her husband Yugo and children in a slum in Southeast Asia, in partnership with Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor.
Editor’s Note: After writing this, Yugo and Grace were able to leave the city for respite at Yugo’s seminary, enabling him to work on his thesis. A local teammate staying with them became very ill, and due to COVID-19 concerns, they were abruptly told to leave the premises. While settling into their team “Sabbath apartment” in the city, four-year-old Simeon became ill with dehydration and fever, and needed to be hospitalized. He has since been released. How much they have needed this word from Habakkuk!